Although several studies have reported short-term gains for drug-use prevention programs targeted at young adolescents, few have assessed the long-term effects of such programs. Such information is essential for judging how long prevention benefits last. This paper reports results over a 6-year period for a multisite randomized trial that achieved reductions in drug use during the junior high school years. The 11-lesson curriculum, which was tested in 30 schools in eight highly diverse West Coast communities, focused on helping 7th and 8th grade students develop the motivation and skills to resist drugs. Schools were randomly assigned to treatment and control conditions. About 4000 students were assessed in grade 7 and six times thereafter through grade 12. Program effects were adjusted for pretest covariates and school effects. Once the lessons stopped, the program's effects on drug use stopped. Effects on cognitive risk factors persisted for a longer time (many through grade 10), but were not sufficient to produce corresponding reductions in use. The authors conclude it is unlikely that early prevention gains can be maintained without additional prevention efforts during high school. Future research is needed to develop and test such efforts.
Originally published in: American Journal of Public Health, v. 83, no. 6, June 1993, pp. 856-861.
This report is part of the RAND Corporation Reprint series. The Reprint was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1992 to 2011 that represented previously published journal articles, book chapters, and reports with the permission of the publisher. RAND reprints were formally reviewed in accordance with the publisher's editorial policy and compliant with RAND's rigorous quality assurance standards for quality and objectivity. For select current RAND journal articles, see External Publications.
Our mission to help improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis is enabled through our core values of quality and objectivity and our unwavering commitment to the highest level of integrity and ethical behavior. To help ensure our research and analysis are rigorous, objective, and nonpartisan, we subject our research publications to a robust and exacting quality-assurance process; avoid both the appearance and reality of financial and other conflicts of interest through staff training, project screening, and a policy of mandatory disclosure; and pursue transparency in our research engagements through our commitment to the open publication of our research findings and recommendations, disclosure of the source of funding of published research, and policies to ensure intellectual independence. For more information, visit www.rand.org/about/principles.
The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.